I wanted to get something up today, simply because it’s Leap Day; it’s not like we get one of these every year (duh!), and as such, having an update immortalized on my silly blog would make me feel like a big man. (I’m easily pleased.)
Problem was, boy, I couldn’t think of anything to write about yesterday in preparation for today. Well, not quite; I’ve got plenty of stuff I could write about, but the problem was inspiration. I’ve gotta feel the fire inside! Attempts at articles on Indestructible Man and an old Zenith clock radio fell in defeat to my lack of drive yesterday. (It didn’t help that the radio portion of the aforementioned clock radio was seemingly dead, effectively depleting whatever inspiration I had initially mustered up to zilch.)
But really, I guess what’s been preying on my mind lately has been the recent death of Marty “Superhost” Sullivan. I mean, it’s not like I was unaware of this, and I’d been figuratively scratching my head trying to come up with an appropriate follow-up to my last post on the subject. But, I just couldn’t think up anything that I’d be totally satisfied with. So instead, why don’t we just briefly talk about Supe for the sake of talking about Supe, eh? One final (?) tribute to Mr. Sullivan on this site.
There’s our dear departed television buddy, on that classic WUAB set, fan art behind him and a smile on his face. I mean, this pic could be the very idea of a Cleveland Saturday afternoon personified! At three years old, that Superman-like appearance demonstrated so ably above is what first caught my attention, and even though I knew it was a parody (though I naturally didn’t know it in those terms; I was only three after all!), it was that striking image that has been ingrained in my psyche ever since. I may have been way too young to actually ‘get’ Supe then, but my earliest Northeast Ohio horror hosting memories are of him nevertheless.
I know I’m repeating myself here; after our 2014 interview and my meeting him this past November, I don’t know how much more I can say. He was a total pro at what he did, beloved on-camera and off, and I’m bummed that he’s gone.
The news of his death really was pretty shocking; even though he was 87, he sure seemed like he was in good health this past November. Indeed, I had hopes that he may even make it to a future convention in Akron and/or Cleveland. Obviously that’s not going to happen now; Supe’s gone, and even if he hadn’t been on television regularly in decades, the world of broadcasting is lesser for it.
Here’s a short story I don’t know if I’ve ever recounted online before: in the aftermath of our 2014 interview, I sent him a self-addressed stamped envelope for a signed picture (at that time, it didn’t seem like he’d be making a return trip to Northeast Ohio), and when I got the return, not only did it have a full 8×10 autographed photo, but also an unexpected (and unnecessary) bonus: a smaller photo along with a post-it note thanking me for all my kind words. He didn’t have to go that extra mile, but that small additional gesture really summed up how giving Marty was with his fans.
An addendum to that story: I think I sent this after the SASE rather than with, but I found an old 8-track (is calling an 8-track “old” redundant?) in a Superhost-ish light blue shell, and as a final thank you to him for the interview, I stripped off its labels and mocked up a custom Superhost 8-track tape, which of course I sent to him. Because why not? I wish I had a picture of the finished product; it actually looked pretty snazzy, all things considered. I hope Marty liked it!
Thinking of it, my personal experiences with Marty were almost like a flip of what I had with fellow local legend Ron “The Ghoul” Sweed, who of course passed away less than a year ago as of this writing. I only met Marty the one time, but spoke with him at length over the phone years ago, and a few times online as well. Sweed, on the other hand, I met several times during his WBNX run in the late-90s/early-00s and of course spoke with him at those appearances, but I never really had a long, detailed conversation with him. But then, being quite a bit older by the time Sweed came back to Northeast Ohio television in 1998, I was able to absorb his show in a way I was too young to do with Marty’s.
Despite the differing circumstances, both were absolutely kind and gracious in their time with me. I’ll always be grateful for that.
In fact, while on the subject…
In 1999, both The Ghoul and Superhost were invited to be background extras in the 100th episode of The Drew Carey Show, behind-the-scenes coverage of which was presented on The Ghoul’s program. As you can see above, both got together for a brief moment. (Sorry the quality’s fuzzy; a 20 year old SLP VHS screencap doesn’t exactly make for archival-quality material!)
Fast forward to recent times: it’s sad to realize that both would be gone within a year of each other. Local legends, crucial pieces of our television history, laid to rest and never to be repeated. RIP, guys.
Such is the nature of time marching forward; all you can do is deal with it. But hey, we’ve been given a bonus day today; what say we appreciate it, huh?